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Don’t Let Fireworks Frighten Your Pets!

June 29, 2016 | Filed under: Uncategorized — Trumann Staff @ 4:03 pm

Pet Talk
By Dr. Norette Underwood
Don’t Let Fireworks frighten Your Pets This Fourth of July!
Fireworks are enjoyed year-round by people but can be a source of fear for many animals.
It doesn’t have to be that way though, so don’t ignore the problem. Seek advice from your veterinarian about behavior or drug therapy to make this a not so frightening experience for your pet.
Keeping cats and dogs secure
• Make sure your dog or cat always has somewhere to hide if he or she wants to and has access to this place at all times. For example this could be under some furniture or in a crate or in a closet.
• Be sure and walk your dogs during daylight hours and keep cats and dogs indoors when fireworks are likely to be set off.
• At nightfall close windows and curtains and put on music to mask and muffle the sound of fireworks.
• If your pet shows any signs of fear try to ignore their behavior. Leave them alone unless they are likely to harm themselves.
• Never punish or fuss over your pet when it’s scared, as this will only make things worse in the long run.
• Make sure your cat or dog is always kept in a safe and secure environment and can’t escape if there’s a sudden noise. Have your pet micro chipped in case they do escape. 
Just for dogs – before the firework season starts 
Planning ahead can help your dog cope with the firework season. 
Talk to your vet about pheromone diffusers. These disperse calming chemicals into the room and may be a good option for your dog; in some cases your vet may even prescribe medication. If either of these options is used they should be used in conjunction with behavioral therapy. We would recommend asking your vet to refer you to a clinical animal behaviorist or using the ‘Sounds Scary’ therapy pack (www.soundtherapy4pets.co.uk).
RSPCA
Before the firework season starts provide your dog with a doggy safe haven, this should be a quiet area so choose one of the quietist rooms in your home. It should be a place where the animal feels it is in control, so don’t interfere with it when it’s in that area. Train your dog to associate the area with positive experiences e.g. by leaving toys there but not imposing yourself at any time. Use a variety of toys and swap them regularly, putting them away when not in use so that your dog doesn’t become bored with them. With time your dog can learn that this place is safe and enjoyable. So when fireworks happen it may choose to go here because it knows that when it is here, no harm will come to it and so it’s more able to cope. It is important that your dog has access to its doggy safe haven at all times even when you’re not at home.
Just for dogs – when the fireworks start
• Close any windows and black out the ‘doggy play area’ to remove any extra problems caused by flashing lights.
• Each evening before the fireworks begin, move your dog to the play area and provide toys and other things that they enjoy. Make sure that there are things for you to do too so that your dog isn’t left alone.
• Ignore the firework noises yourself. Try doing something with your pet to distract them. Play with a toy to see if your dog wants to join in, but don’t force them to play.
• If you know a dog that isn’t scared by noises and which gets on well with your dog, then keeping the two together during the evenings may help your dog to realize that there’s no need to be afraid. 
Sounds Scary – for dogs 
In the long term your dog needs to learn to be less afraid of loud noises. With proper treatment this is possible so that the next firework season will be less stressful for you and your dog. 
We recommend Sounds Scary, an easy to follow therapy pack for dogs which includes a specially made set of high quality sound recordings and an easy to follow guide. The amount of training needed will vary from dog to dog so owners should start training with the Sounds Scary pack well in advance of firework seasons. Visit Sound Therapy 4 Pets (www.soundtherapy4pets.co.uk) for more information.

Just for cats
• Make sure your cat has somewhere to hide if it wants to. For example this may be under some furniture or in a quiet corner.
• Don’t try and tempt your cat out, as this will cause it to become more stressed. 
Don’t forget small animals
• If your pets live outside, partly cover cages, pens and aviaries with blankets so that one area is well soundproofed. Make sure that your pet is still able to look out.
• Provide lots of extra bedding so your pet has something to burrow in.
• If you have questions about fireworks and your pet. Contact dr. Norette Underwood of Trumann Animal Clinic and Best Friends Vet Moble Service at catdoc56@gmail.com Happy 4th of July.
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Acknowledgement for part of this information is made to Prof Daniel Mills.



Training Tips For Your Dog

June 21, 2016 | Filed under: Uncategorized — Trumann Staff @ 2:51 pm

Pet Talk

Training tips for your Dog
By dr. Norette L. Underwood

January is National Train your Dog Month so this month I will discuss training for your dog. Below are some wonderful tips:

1 LISTEN TO YOUR DOG
Learn to listen to your dog. If your dog appears to be uncomfortable meeting another dog, animal or person, don’t insist that he say hello. He’s telling you that he isn’t comfortable for a reason, and you should respect that. Forcing the issue can often result in bigger problems down the line.
2 BE GENEROUS WITH YOUR AFFECTION
Most people don’t have a problem being very clear about when they are unhappy with their dogs, but, they often ignore the good stuff. Big mistake! Make sure you give your dog lots of attention when he’s doing the right thing. Let him know when he’s been a good boy. That’s the time to be extra generous with your attention and praise. It’s even okay to be a little over the top.
3 DOES HE REALLY LIKE IT?
Just because the bag says “a treat all dogs love” doesn’t mean your dog will automatically love it. Some dogs are very selective about what they like to eat. Soft and chewy treats are usually more exciting for your dog than hard and crunchy treats. Keep your eyes open for what he enjoys.
4 TELL HIM WHAT YOU WANT HIM TO DO
There is nothing inherently wrong with telling your dog “no,” except that it doesn’t give him enough information. Instead of telling your dog “no,” tell him what you want him to do. Dogs don’t generalize well, so if your dog jumps up on someone to say hello and you say no, he may jump higher or he may jump to the left side instead of the right. A better alternative would be to ask him to “sit.” Tell him what you want him to do in order to avoid confusion.
5 BE CONSISTENT
Whenever you’re training your dog, it’s important to get as many family members involved as possible so everyone’s on the same page. If you are telling your dog “off” when he jumps on the couch and someone else is saying “down,” while someone else is letting him hang out up there, how on earth is he ever going to learn what you want? Consistency will be the key to your success.
6 HAVE REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS
Changing behavior takes time. You need to have realistic expectations about changing your dog’s behavior as well as how long it will take to change behaviors that you don’t like. Often behaviors which are “normal” doggie behaviors will take the most time such as barking, digging and jumping. You also need to consider how long your dog has rehearsed the behavior. For example, if you didn’t mind that your dog jumped up on people to say hi for the last seven years and now you decide that you don’t want him to do that anymore, that behavior will take a much longer time to undo than if you had addressed it when he was a pup. Remember it’s never too late to change the behavior some will just take longer than others.
7 DON’T UNDERESTIMATE THE BENEFITS OF FEEDING A HIGH QUALITY FOOD
Feed your dog a high-quality diet with appropriate amounts of protein. If your dog spends most of his days lounging in your condo, don’t feed him food with a protein level that is ideal for dogs who herd sheep all day. The money that you will spend on feeding an appropriate quality food will often be money that you save in vet bills later on. I recommend you always check with your veterinarian for the right diet for your dog.
8 YOU GET WHAT YOU REINFORCE – NOT NECESSARILY WHAT YOU WANT
If your dog exhibits a behavior you don’t like, there is a strong likelihood that it’s something that has been reinforced before. A great example is when your dog brings you a toy and barks to entice you to throw it. You throw the toy. Your dog has just learned that barking gets you to do what he wants. You say “no,” and he barks even more. Heaven forbid you give in and throw the toy now! Why? Because you will have taught him persistence pays off. Before you know it you’ll have a dog that barks and barks every time he wants something. The solution? Ignore his barking or ask him to do something for you (like “sit”) before you throw his toy.
9 BRIBERY VS. REWARD
The idea of using treats to train is often equated with bribery. Truthfully, dogs do what works. If using treats gets them to do what you want, then why not? You can also use the world around you as a reinforcement. Every interaction you have with your dog is a learning opportunity, so when you think about it, you probably don’t use food very often except during active training sessions. So why does your dog continue to hang out? Because you reinforce him with praise, touch, games and walks. Just remember, the behavior should produce the treat; the treat should not produce the behavior.
FREEDOM
Let your new dog gradually earn freedom throughout your home. A common error that many pet parents make is giving their new dog too much freedom too soon. This can easily lead to accidents relating to housetraining and destructive chewing. So, close off doors to unoccupied rooms and use baby gates to section off parts of the house, if necessary. One of the best ways to minimize incidents is to keep your dog tethered to you in the house and by using a crate or doggie safe area when you can’t actively supervise him.

If you have questions about dog training please contact Dr. Norette L. Underwood of Trumann Animal Clinic and Best Friends Vet Mobile Service at catdoc56@gmail.com



Pool Owners With Pets That Swim

June 13, 2016 | Filed under: Uncategorized — Trumann Staff @ 6:13 pm

Tips For Pool Owners With Pets That Swim

 

Your Dog’s Skin

They can get rashes, irritations, infections, and just about anything else we humans can get. Be sure to rinse your dog off after a swim or their skin will become dry.  Also make sure to towel dry your dog so they will not get a bacterial skin infection from moisture remaining on the skin.  Your dog can get the same red eyes, itching, and irritation that we two legged creatures get from swimming in an under sanitized pool.

Dog Hair

If your dog sheds when it is not in the pool, imagine what will happen when it is in the pool!  The hair and lint pot (part of most pumps) and/or the filter (sand, DE or cartridge) will end up with the majority of the lost pet hair.  I recommend keeping your dog’s coat trimmed short, if they will be in the pool often and brush them out regularly.

Entering/Exiting

You must be certain that your dog is willing to get in, and physically able to get out.  Animals are just as curious about the water as children are. A pool can be a real danger to your beloved pet. If you train your pet to ride or sit on a boogie board or floating raft, “will they know how to get out of the pool if they fall?” Make sure your pet knows how to get out of the pool if they should fall in the water.  Remember pets should always be supervised when swimming.

Chlorine / Chemicals

There has yet to be invented a better, time-tested, cost-effective, proven way to sanitize swimming pools other than using chlorine.  Without chlorine and its benefits the world would not be where it is at providing clean, drinkable, life-sustaining water.  The key to chlorine is proper management.  If you allow pets in your pool, the testing process is the same, but you should test more often. Make sure there is adequate Free Available Chlorine (FAC) so it can do its job and keep the pH level between 7.2 and 7.6 to maximize its effectiveness.

Kids and Animals

Dogs have sharp nails. When they are in the swimming pool with the kids, their nails can be a hazard to swimmers. If you want to see a kid panic, wait until he gets inadvertently scratched on the ribcage or face. Infection and disease spread with an open wound. Make sure the kids and everyone else is comfortable with Fido in the pool. Tell the kids to notify you immediately if an accident happens

Keep those nails on the dog’s paws trimmed.

 

Safety

Make sure you check your swimming pool regularly to ensure that the water is healthy. A simple way to do this is to take a daily look into the pool. Is the water clear? Can you see to the bottom of the pool? Does the water look any different from how it looked the day before? Changes, such as cloudiness, mean that you need to test the water and take steps to improve water quality before anyone — human or pet — goes swimming.

 

If you have questions about swimming pools and pets please contact Dr. Norette L. Underwood of Trumann Animal Clinic and Best Friends Vet Mobile service at catdoc56@gmail.com



June 6, 2016 | Filed under: Uncategorized — Trumann Staff @ 4:52 pm

Pet Talk Car Restraint Necessary for your Pet’s Safety!

By Dr. Norette L. Underwood

Summer is your dog’s favorite time for road trips! But is it safe to take your dog in the car without a safety restraint? Studies say no. We would never put our children in the car without a seatbelt. Why should our dogs be any different? I’ve seen trauma cases where dogs sustained serious injuries in a crash. The most tragic case was a little Jack Russell Terrier named Maxi. After the crash she jumped out of the car window and was hit by on-coming traffic. Maxi died and her parents blamed themselves. They never thought a safety restraint was necessary, until it was too late. Safety restraints can save your dog’s life in a crash, but 84% of pet owners don’t use them. Today I’m going to give you the facts so you will take the necessary steps to protect your dog.

According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, looking away from the road for only two seconds doubles your risk of being in a car crash. And a recent AAA study shows pets are definitely a distraction. This study of dog owners found: 65% were distracted at least once while driving with a dog, 31% became distracted by a dog climbing into their lap,  23% used their arms to restrain dogs while applying the brake ,  20% let their dog sit on their lap while driving , 19% took one hand off the wheel to prevent pets from climbing into the front seat.

One of the main reasons people don’t think about using pet safety restraints is that they don’t understand the dangers. Here’s why you should never give your dog free reign of the car.  Airbags are designed to protect people, not pets. Never allow your dog to ride in the front seat. A dog sitting on the driver’s lap could be stuck between the driver and the airbag if it deploys. And front airbags can be deadly to a dog , even if the dog is restrained. Many newer vehicles deactivate the front passenger air bag if less than 80# are in the seat. Unrestrained pets become forceful projectiles. If you crash at 30mph your unrestrained 10-lb dog becomes a flying projectile exerting 300 pounds of force. At 50mph, your dog will fly forward with 833 pounds of force. And at only 30mph an 80-lb dog can hit passengers or the windshield with over a ton of force! Threats to emergency responders. After a crash, frightened, injured or protective dogs may bite anyone that comes near.  Running from the car. Frightened by the crash, your dog may instinctively run from the car to be hit by oncoming traffic or cause another accident. This is a serious safety issue. In fact, soon pet safety restraints may not be a “choice” , they may be the law. Many states already have pet vehicle safety laws and others are following suit. States like Arizona, Florida, California, Connecticut, Maine and New Jersey issue fines of $250-$1,000 for driving with a pet on your lap. In Hawaii, driving with unrestrained pets is forbidden. If your state has no pet vehicle safety law, it could be coming soon. But don’t wait for legislation to start using a pet safety restraint. Now that you understand the dangers, act now. The risks are simply too great. It’s our job to keep our pets safe, and that includes vehicle safety. If you have questions about restraint for your pet contact Dr. Norette L. Underwood of the Trumann Animal Clinic and Best Friends Vet Mobile Service at catdoc56@gmail.com



Flea Season Is Here!

June 1, 2016 | Filed under: Uncategorized — Trumann Staff @ 4:51 pm

PET TALK
By Norette L. Underwood DVM
Flea Season is here!!
Yes, I agree but every summer millions of dogs and cats suffer unnecessarily because pet parents fail to protect them.
“Protect them from what” you ask…
I am talking about tiny little creatures that can inflict more misery, ounce for ounce on dogs than any other creature. I am talking about FLEAS!
Your dog’s scratching is usually the first clue you’ve got a flea problem. But because fleas are so easy to miss early on, many pet parents assume that fleas aren’t causing their pet’s itching.
These tiny, nearly invisible pests can make your dog’s life miserable through vicious cycles of biting and scratching that never seem to end.
The first one or two fleas quickly become dozens, even hundreds. The prolific breeders they are, it doesn’t take long before you end up with a home crawling with fleas everywhere – in your furniture, on your rug, and even your bed. By the time you realize you have a flea problem, it’s too late. It only takes one flea to start this vicious cycle.
Imagine if one of those bloodthirsty fleas attacked you in the middle of the night, taking a taste of your blood and leaving behind their itchy saliva? Making you writhe with pain and itching so bad you couldn’t get any sleep? All the while you’re scratching away at your skin, making it bloody and raw just trying to make the itch go away…
That’s how your poor pet can feel. And that’s exactly why your pet may scratch until he’s bloody, whimper or cry out in discomfort – and why he can’t sleep. All he wants is for you to make his pain go away…
And don’t forget, with fleas, it’s not just the itchy discomfort… fleas potentially carry dangerous diseases, too. They’re not safe to have in your home for your pet or for your family.
Why make your pet suffer so when there’s an easy solution? And why wait until you’ve got a full-blown infestation? Your pet depends on you to protect her against fleas. She can’t fight them on her own. She needs your help.
You can help your pet by getting an early jump on those pesky fleas by taking action now – before they’re a problem. Proper flea control in the environment and a flea product on your pet is essential.

Visit your veterinarian for expert advice on how to keep your pet and home flea free. They are the flea experts. It takes more than just treating your pet to rid your environment of fleas.

If you have questions about flea control or products contact Dr. Norette Underwood of Trumann Animal Clinic and Best Friends Vet Mobile Service at catdoc56@gmail.com